|ca. 2000 species|
Cortinarius is a genus of mushrooms. It is suspected to be the largest genus of agarics, containing over 2000 different species and found worldwide. A common feature among all species in the genus Cortinarius is that young specimens have a cortina (veil) between the cap and the stem, hence the name. All also have a rusty brown spore print. The common names cortinar and webcap refer to members of the genus.
The veil protects the gills in younger specimens and usually disappears leaving little to no trace of itself as the mushroom grows. The spores of a Cortinarius mushroom are rusty brown to brownish red in color. It is usually possible to identify a mushroom as being a member of the genus, but extremely difficult to positively identify the species as many of the species are nearly identical. All mushrooms in this genus form mycorrhizae.
Several mushrooms in the genus Cortinarius are poisonous. Some are even lethal, such as Cortinarius rubellus and Cortinarius orellanus. Therefore, a common rule when it comes to mushrooms from this genus are that none of them should be eaten or even tasted. However, it should be noted that some species - notably the giant of the genus, Cortinarius praestans and the Gypsy mushroom (Cortinarius caperatus) - are edible and appreciated in several European countries.
Recently, molecular studies of members of the genus Rozites, including its most famous member R. caperata have shown them nested within Cortinarius and have been sunk into this genus.
Some consider the subgenus Dermocybe to have generic status.
- Cortinarius austrovenetus - also known as Dermocybe austroveneta or Green Skin-head is an Australian fungus typical of the brightly coloured Dermocybe subgenus.
- Cortinarius orellanus and C. rubellus are two of the deadly webcaps found in Europe and North America.
- Singer, R. (1986). The Agaricales in modern taxonomy. 4th ed. Koenigstein, Germany: Koeltz Scientific Books. pp. 981 pp.
- Bougher, N. L. & J. M. Trappe (2002). "Dermocybe globuliformis: first report of a hypogeous species for the genus". Australasian Mycologist. 21 (1): 1–3. Unknown parameter
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cortinarius.|